Farrellys ink Fox deal

'Dumb and Dumber' creators to write, produce and direct

Comic filmmakers Peter and Bobby Farrelly have inked a three-year writing, producing and directing deal with 20th Century Fox.

It’s the first overall studio deal for the pair, who co-directed New Line’s 1994 hit “Dumb and Dumber” as well as the 1996 bowling spoof “Kingpin.”

Fox produced the brothers’ third directorial outing, the Ben Stiller/Cameron Diaz-starrer “Something About Mary,” which is set for a July 15 release.

Expectations are running high for the broad R-rated comedy, which has already developed considerable heat among industryites.

“The whole process of making the movie was just a joy,” said Peter Farrelly, by phone from Washington, D.C. “We went out on a limb and tried some pretty wild stuff, and Fox completely supported us.”

The agreement doesn’t specify a number of projects, but Fox worldwide production president Tom Rothman said he expected the pair would write and direct at least two films during the term as well as produce additional projects.

At Fox, the brothers are already developing the script “Backasswards,” which Bobby Farrelly described as ” ‘Lethal Weapon’ for kids.” They’re also eyeing the script “Stuck on You,” a comedy about Siamese twins.

The pair will have an office on the Fox lot and possibly one in Rhode Island, where the brothers grew up. Bobby still makes his home in nearby Duxbury, Mass.

Bradley Thomas, one of the producers on “Mary” and a longtime collaborator with the Farrellys, is expected to run the siblings’ production company.

“They are extremely skillful filmmakers and we feel privileged.” said Rothman. “This kind of comedy may look easy but it’s very, very hard,”

Asked about the decision to sign a longterm deal with Fox, Bobby Farrelly quipped, “We’ve seen that these guys are pretty good with sinking ships. We were hoping they could salvage our careers.”

On a more serious note, Farrelly said the move was a quality-of-life issue. “We like to push the envelope, and these guys gave us a lot of creative freedom,” he told Daily Variety.

The brothers also teamed with Michael Corrente to write and produce “Outside Providence,” which Miramax will release in the fall. Corrente helmed the coming-of-age pic which is based on Peter Farrelly’s first novel.

Peter’s second novel, “The Comedy Writer” was recently published by Doubleday.

Fox senior VP of production Hutch Parker, who oversaw “Mary” was instrumental in bringing the Farrelly’s into the Fox fold.

The Farrelly’s were repped by their CAA agents and attorneys Peter Grossman and Cindy Gesner.